OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines – Several political unknowns have succeeded in breaking the hold of prominent families in local politics here in last Monday’s elections.
Rolen Paulino, the incumbent vice mayor of this city, won the mayoral race with 27,648 votes over Anne Marie Gordon, former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority board director and former Zambales vice governor, and with 10,093 votes over Bugsy Gordon de los Reyes, brother of senatorial candidate JC Gordon de los Reyes.
Anne Marie is the wife of Zambales 1st district congressional candidate and outgoing city mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr.
Bugsy and JC de los Reyes are both nephews of former senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, a senatorial candidate currently in 13th position.
Paulino ran with congressional candidate for 1st district of Zambales Jeffrey Khonghun, who is now also the official winner of the congressional race against outgoing city mayor Gordon Jr.
Incumbent city councilor Rodel Cerezo was elected vice mayor, topping other candidates including Dick Gordon’s son Brian, and Vic-Vic Magsaysay, son of senatorial candidate Mitos Magsaysay.
The election of Paulino was seen to have ended the more than three-decade rule of the Gordons in Olongapo City.
This is the first time in more than three decades that no member of the Gordon political clan won an elective post in this city.
The only other time that a Gordon was defeated in an election was in 1970 when Geronimo Lipumano won by a landslide against the late Amelia Gordon, the mother of Dick Gordon.
“Politics is now over, there is a new face of Olongapo, and Olongapo has a new story,” Paulino said during his official proclamation as mayor-elect of the city.
Projecting himself as a man of the masses, Paulino told The STAR that “you can win even if you don’t have money.”
Paulino personally thanked the people for their overwhelming support by going around the city, and flagging down jeepneys and tricycles to shake hands with the drivers and passengers.
It was a different story, however, in the case of neighboring Bataan province.
The Garcia family headed by incumbent Gov. Enrique Garcia Jr., his two sons Rep. Albert Raymond Garcia and Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III and daughter Gila Garcia, were officially proclaimed yesterday as the winners in the congressional, gubernatorial, Balanga City and Dinalupihan mayoralty races, respectively.
The Garcias defeated the Payumos, led by Dinalupihan Mayor Joel Payumo in the gubernatorial race.
Governor Garcia, the patriarch of Garcia family, won the congressional seat in the province’s second district against former governor Leonardo Roman, an ally of former Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) chairman Felicito Payumo.
Garcia’s daughter Gila, who ran for mayor of Dinalupihan town, won with 24,719 votes against rival Jojo Payumo’s 10,565.
In 2010, Gila ran for Congress but lost to incumbent Rep. Herminia Roman.
Antonio Payumo, a foreign economist and son of Felicito Payumo, also failed in his bid to take a seat at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bataan’s first district. – Raffy Viray